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review 2018-07-04 19:46
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I read this book for a new book club, one that I didn’t end up going to! I’m still a member of the classic book club, but they’re on a summer break right now.

 

This is the story of two University students, Frances and Bobbie who become entangled with an older, married couple, Melissa and Nick. Melissa is a journalist and spots Bobbie and Frances preforming open-mic poetry together and wants to write a piece on them. They spend time together, along with Melissa’s husband, to formulate the piece and become friends during the process.

 

The novel is written from the point of view of Frances, a very introverted, intelligent young woman, who proclaims herself to be unemotional and flat. Her friend Bobbie is in many ways her opposite, fiery, impulsive and often overtly emotional. The two make a fantastic pairing.

 

Frances is a communist and they both have very clear views about society and its structure, often informed by Bobbie’s degree, Anthropology. If you’re worried it’s overly preachy, don’t be, discussions that take this line happen seldomly. There are some rather heated exchanges, but these are fleeting and take a back seat to the dynamics of the relationships. It did sometimes feel like the author was trying to impart her views, but it wasn’t too much to be distracting.

 

The novel was mostly about relationships related to the nature of the self and finding oneself. Bobbie was so often trying to pass herself off as one thing when she clearly wasn’t. She would say something contrived, instead of how she really felt and had a deep discomfort with herself that oozed from the pages, the main reason I loved it so much. I’ve never read a character that felt more real than Frances. It was like I knew her and what she wanted better than she did, even if she couldn't communicate it to anyone else.

 

I can see why this novel wouldn’t be for everyone. Some could find it overindulgent, the pair preachy and immature. I, however, loved it and just wish it had gone on longer.

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text 2018-06-18 15:23
Reading progress update: I've read 99%.
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I closed my eyes. Things and people moved around me, taking positions in obscure hierarchies, participating in systems I didn't know about and never would. A complex network of objects and concepts. You live through certain things before you understand them. You can't always take the analytical position.

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text 2018-06-17 18:41
Reading progress update: I've read 76%.
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

Something had changed between us, but I didn't know what it was. We still intuited each other's moods easily, we shared the same conspiratorial looks and our conversations still felt lengthy and intelligent. The time she ran me that bath had changed something, had placed Bobbi in a new relation to me even as we both remained ourselves.

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text 2018-06-14 22:01
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I'm reading this for my book club and I'm finding it a little flat so far. I haven't read much, though, so hopefully it'll improve.

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review 2017-07-11 19:44
Conversations With Friends/Sally Rooney
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple.

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed, and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind--and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa's orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband. Private property, Frances believes, is a cultural evil--and Nick, a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential, looks like patriarchy made flesh. But however amusing their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect.As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances's intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment.

Written with gem-like precision and probing intelligence, Conversations With Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth."

 

I think I was really excited about this because my favourite movie is Conversations With Other Women, so I thought it was obviously going to be just as great, having a similar title.

 

This was solid. This was good. I ultimately enjoyed this. But I think to an extent, it was also too literary--not that that's necessarily a bad thing--when the storyline could have merited more fun and play to give it some livelihood.

 

The character relations in this book were golden, and what drove it forward. I found myself really relating to Frances in her general apathetic manner, and the way she kind of simply let life happen, and that was probably what kept me intrigued by and moving through this book.

 

Ultimately though, I can't think of a good reason why I'd tell my mum or anyone else that they should read this book, and while it was solid and I did ultimately make it through, it was slow without really giving cause for the slowness.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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